Monet’s Kitchen Garden Comes Alive in a New Cookbook

Sixty original recipes recreate the delights of the famous artist's beloved kitchen garden.

New Jersey resident/filmmaker Aileen Bordman and garden writer Derek Fell have published a cookbook, Monet’s Palate Cookbook: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny, which brings Claude Monet’s beloved kitchen garden back to life.

Monet’s Palate Cookbook includes 60 recipes linked to Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden with detailed information about the vegetables he grew, plus stunning photographs and descriptions of the house’s interiors and gardens. Meryl Streep has written the foreword and the recipes are beautifully photographed by Steven Rothfeld. Bordman says, “Most of the 60 recipes are original, which I created using the ingredients found in Monet’s kitchen garden and used his culinary preferences as inspiration.”

Before there was a cookbook, there was Monet’s Palate: A Gastronomic View from the Garden, a documentary featuring the artwork and delectable dishes created by artist Claude Monet. It was produced by Bordman and shown on American Public Television on all 350 PBS stations. The film, which was shot in Paris, London and Giverny, includes celebrity guests Meryl Streep, Steve Wynn, and Joachim Pissarro, as well as chefs Daniel Boulud, Alice Waters, Michel Richard, and Roger Vergé.

What would Monet have cooked this spring? Here is a recipe for you to try:


4 to 6 side dish servings

1 ⁄ 4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange juice

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel, divided

1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon salt

1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 ⁄ 8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup (100 g) chopped pitted niçoise or kalamata olives

1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 pounds (900 g) asparagus, ends trimmed

Asparagus is an early crop that was held in high regard by Monet, and he made sure that his cook, Marguerite, prepared it two ways. For Monet himself, who believed overcooking was sacrilegious, the asparagus was lightly steamed to make it tender, but not enough to lose its crisp, nutty flavor. For his family, who preferred their asparagus well cooked, Marguerite would prepare a separate batch. Here the spears are dressed with an olive, caper and orange relish that Monet surely would have liked, as it is similar to the tapenade that he enjoyed on his painting trips along the French Riviera. While we call for the asparagus to be chilled, you can also serve it warm or at room temperature. This dish is ideal for a light lunch—make sure to prepare extra relish to serve on the side with crusty bread—or an apt prelude to grilled lamb, chicken or fish. Pour a well-chilled rosé.

Place oil, juice, 1 teaspoon orange peel, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a medium-size bowl. Whisk well to blend. Add olives, capers and garlic and mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Meanwhile, steam or boil asparagus until tender but still firm to bite; time will vary depending on size of asparagus. Drain well and rinse under cold water to stop cooking process and set color. Transfer asparagus to a platter and pat dry. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Spoon olive mixture over asparagus. Garnish with remaining 1 teaspoon orange peel. Serve immediately

Monet's Palate asparagus

Chilled asparagus salad with olives, capers and orange.

Monet's bookcover

Monet’s Palate Cookbook by Aileen Bordman and Derek Fell. Recipe photographs by Steven Rothfeld. Reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith.

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

Read more Eat & Drink, Table Hopping articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown